Happening Now: Free Ice Skating in Coney Island

springbreak ice skating

4 Banks In 1 Day – Police Need Your Help Identifying These Bank Robbers

bkbank4indayPolice are seeking the public’s assistance identifying the following individual wanted for two bank robberies and two attempted bank robberies which took place in Brooklyn. Details are as follows.

1. April 14, 2014 at 12:30 PM inside of 2102 Ralph Avenue(Capital One) the suspects passed a demand note and fled with approximately $1800.

2. April 14, 2014 1:55 PM hours inside of 1987 Flatbush Avenue(Chase) the suspects entered the location passed a demand note and fled without taking any money.

3. April 14, 2014 2:10 PM inside of 1123 Kings Highway(Northfield Bank) the suspects entered the location passed a demand note and fled the location without taking any money.

4. April 14, 2014 2:30 PM inside of 301 Avenue U(Santander Bank) the suspects passed a demand note and fled with approximately  $4,500.

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Tenants Claim Discrimination by Brooklyn Landlord

A Brooklyn landlord has engaged in a pattern of ill-treatment to force out minority renters, even failing to cash rent checks in hopes of later evicting them for nonpayment, tenants said Tuesday after filing a federal discrimination lawsuit.

Jean Wilkinson said the landlord has ignored requests to fix her water – the only source of hot water in her apartment for the last five days has been the stove, she said – as part of a “game plan” to get more affluent clientele.

The tenants filed a federal discrimination lawsuit late Monday against Homewood Gardens Estates and its principal owner, Yeshaya Wasserman, alleging a pattern of harassment “almost from the day” he purchased the complex in 2009. They are seeking an order stopping the alleged harassment and monetary damages.

Tenant Marquetta Bell said the plaintiffs – 11 current or former tenants and two community groups – are serving notice: “We will no longer stand for this discrimination.”

Attorneys for the tenants said the complex in the Prospect Lefferts Garden neighborhood failed to complete repairs and changed locks without providing them with keys.

When the complex’s maintenance staff did make repairs, the shoddy work created other problems including mold, leaky windows and floors so worn in some places tenants could see into the basement below, the attorneys said.

A woman who answered the phone at Homewood Gardens said Wasserman would not be back in the office to respond to questions about the lawsuit until Wednesday. No one else was available to answer questions, she said.

City officials reported dozens of complaints about the complex since Wasserman took ownership.

Last October, the state’s Tenant Protection Unit served a subpoena on Wasserman for documents from Homewood Gardens and seven other properties. The unit, according to the governor’s office, was investigating “a pattern of abusive behavior and flagrant violations of rent laws.”

Pavita Krishnaswamy, an attorney for the tenants, said Wasserman is targeting them because they are black. She said 20 of the 52 rent-stabilized apartments in the complex have been vacated since he took ownership and, according to the lawsuit, 14 of the 15 new tenants are white or Asian.

She said the lone black tenant who moved in after Wasserman bought the complex faced a 13.9 percent rent increase while rent for tenants of other races went up less than 3 percent.

Wilkinson, who has lived at the complex for 14 years, said once she figured out the landlord had not cashed her rent checks he offered her $15,000 to leave.

“I told him to take a walk,” Wilkinson said. “If you really want me to leave, take me to court.”

NYPD Disband Unit That Spied on Muslims

A special New York Police Department unit that sparked controversy by tracking the daily lives of Muslims in an effort to detect terror threats has been disbanded, police officials said Tuesday.

NYPD spokesman Stephen Davis confirmed that detectives assigned to the unit had been transferred to other duties within the department’s Intelligence Division.

An ongoing review of the division by new Police Commissioner William Bratton found that the same information collected by the unit could be better collected through direct contact with community groups, officials said.

In a statement, Mayor Bill de Blasio, a Democrat, called the move “a critical step forward in easing tensions between the police and the communities they serve, so that our cops and our citizens can help one another go after the real bad guys.”

The Demographics Unit, conceived with the help of a CIA agent working with the NYPD, assembled databases on where Muslims lived, shopped, worked and prayed. Plainclothes officers infiltrated Muslim student groups, put informants in mosques, monitored sermons and cataloged Muslims who adopted Americanized surnames.

After a series of stories by The Associated Press detailing the extent of the NYPD’s surveillance of Muslims, two civil rights lawsuits were filed challenging the activities as unconstitutional because they focused on people’s religion, national origin and race.

Former Police Commissioner Ray Kelly had defended the surveillance tactics, saying officers observed legal guidelines while attempting to create an early warning system for terrorism. But in a deposition made public in 2012, an NYPD chief testified that the unit’s work had never generated a lead or triggered a terrorism investigation in the previous six years.

Linda Sarsour, the executive director of the Arab American Association of New York, said she was among a group of advocates at a private meeting last week with police brass at which the department’s new intelligence chief, John Miller, first indicated the unit wasn’t viable. She applauded the decision but said there’s still concern about the police use of informants to infiltrate mosques without evidence of crime.

“This was definitely a part of the big puzzle that we’re trying to get dismantled,” Sarsour said. But, she added, “This doesn’t necessarily prove to us yet that these very problematic practices are going to end.”

Another person at the meeting, Fahd Ahmed, legal and policy director of Desis Rising Up and Moving, called the decision “a small step.” He questioned what had happened to the information gathered by the unit.

“The concern wasn’t just about the fact that this data was being collected secretly – it was about the fact that this data was being collected at all,” he said.

The NYPD’s decision to disband the unit was first reported in The New York Times.

The Center for Constitutional Rights in New York and the California-based Muslim Advocates, which represented eight New Jersey Muslims in a 2012 lawsuit challenging the spying program, welcomed the unit’s dismantling but expressed concern it wouldn’t stop the surveillance in Muslim communities.

“But nothing in the City’s announcement definitively suggests they will put an end to broad surveillance practices, which would continue to be illegal regardless of which department within the NYPD might be engaged in it,” they said in a statement.

New York Civil Liberties Union Executive Director Donna Lieberman hailed the decision, saying police-community relations took a blow from the unit’s broad surveillance of all Muslims, not just people suspected of wrongdoing.

“We hope this means an end to the dragnet approach to policing that has been so harmful to police-community relations and a commitment to going after criminal suspicion, rather than innocent New Yorkers,” said Lieberman, whose organization is involved in lawsuits over the practice.

In Washington, 34 members of Congress had demanded a federal investigation into the NYPD’s actions. Attorney General Eric Holder said he was disturbed by reports about the operations, and the Department of Justice said it was reviewing complaints received from Muslims and their supporters.

The AP’s reporting also prompted an investigation by the CIA’s inspector general. That internal inquiry concluded that the CIA, which is prohibited from domestic spying, hadn’t broken any laws, but it criticized the agency for allowing an officer assigned to the NYPD to operate without sufficient supervision. (more…)

Man found with fatal gunshot wounds in Fort Greene

nypd-crime-scneThe NYPD is investigating after a 42-year-old man was found dead in front of an apartment building in Fort Greene.

Police say Armal Mallory was found with gunshot wounds to the head and torso.

The Brooklyn man was discovered unconscious and unresponsive in front of the Whitman Houses shortly after midnight Monday.

Police say he did not live in the building.

Mallory was pronounced dead at the scene.

(more…)

Man Wanted for Arson – 3 Churches in 3 Days

Police are seeking your assistance identifying the following individuals wanted in regards to three acts of arson which took place at three houses of worship in Brooklyn.

1. Saturday April 12, 2014 at 2:45 AM, in front of 303 East 98 Street(The Greater New Beginnings Church), the suspect lit a newspaper on fire burning the inside doorway of the location.

2. Sunday April 13, 2014 at 2:35 AM, inside of 1504 Pitkin Avenue (Inglesia Cristiana Church), the suspect tossed an unknown object through a closed window causing a small fire in the bathroom of the location that was quickly extinguished causing minor damage to the bathroom.

3. Monday April 14, 2014 at 6:40 AM, in front of 1417 Union Street (St. Mark’s), the suspect lit a newspaper on fire causing minor damage to the location.

 

Anyone with information in regards to this incident is asked to call Crime stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477).  The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime stoppers website at WWW.NYPDCRIMESTOPPERS.COM or by texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.

Brooklyn DA Announces the Felony Murder Indictment Related to the Death of NYPD Officer Dennis Guerra

Kings County District Attorney Kenneth P. Thompson today announced the indictment of Marcell Dockery, 16, for a top count of felony murder for allegedly setting a fire that resulted in the death of NYPD Officer Dennis Guerra. If convicted, Dockery faces a maximum sentence of 25 years-to-life in prison.

“The senseless act of setting that fire tragically led to the death of NYPD Officer Dennis Guerra. His partner Officer Rosa Rodriguez suffered critical injuries. Both dedicated and courageous officers did not hesitate to risk their lives to save others. We will bring the Defendant to justice for these terrible and horrific crimes.”

Marcell Dockery is charged in an indictment with a top count of Felony Murder—causing a death of a person in the course of committing the crime of Arson.  According to court documents, Dockery set a mattress on fire on the 13th floor in the hallway of a high-rise building creating a smoke-filled environment. Officers Guerra and Rodriguez, acting as first responders, were both overcome by smoke.

An indictment is an accusatory instrument and not proof of a defendant’s guilt.

Defendant Information:

Marcell Dockery

DOB: 11/21/97

Charges:

Murder in the Second Degree, or felony murder

Borough President Adams Teams Up With Youth Baseball & Softball Leaders At Borough Hall

image002baseballYesterday, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams teamed up with youth baseball and softball league coaches, commissioners and athletic directors at his first meet and greet aimed at organizing youth sports in the borough. At the breakfast held in the community room of Brooklyn Borough Hall, he discussed his plans to use organized youth sports as a vehicle for combating the obesity crisis in Brooklyn, a top priority for his administration, as well as to address issues surrounding field maintenance, declining registration figures and participant diversity.

“If our children have a basketball or baseball bat in their hand, they are not engaged in some form of hate crime, they are not doing something that is neurotic where police officers die because they were bored,” said Borough President Adams. “Coaches in many cases are the most important role models in the lives of many children, and the life skills you can teach them will last a life time. We cannot forget that we are all part of one team, team Brooklyn.”

Borough President Adams unveiled an interactive map of all the baseball and softball fields in Brooklyn, where he has asked coaches, commissioners and athletic directors to provide feedback on field conditions and concerns. He will use the data collected from this survey to prioritize locations that may need volunteer support, greater attention from the Department of Parks and Recreation and/or capital funding.

Others in attendance, who also partnered on this event, included Brooklyn Borough Parks Commissioner Kevin Jeffrey, Brooklyn Cyclones Vice President Steve Cohen and Modell’s Community Ambassador JC Albano.

IT’S ON: Recchia Submits Over 6,100 Democratic Petition Signatures

signaturesDomenic M. Recchia, Jr. announced today that his grassroots campaign collected and formally submitted more than 6,100 signatures of registered Democrats to be listed on the ballot. The signatures submitted were collected over the course of 35 days from over 250 volunteers. The minimum number of required Democratic signatures is 1,250.

“I’m overwhelmed by the commitment and dedication shown from our supporters across the district, who in the cold and rain helped gather signatures during the last few weeks. I’m also incredibly grateful for the thousands of voters who took the time to sign a petition and help put my name on the ballot,” said Domenic M. Recchia, Jr., candidate for Congress in New York’s 11th congressional district. “Over the next several months, we have a lot of hard work to do to help bring commonsense leadership back to Congress, but the early enthusiasm we’ve seen shows me that this is more than possible. We’re going to continue to build our momentum door-to-door, at bus stops, the ferry, grocery stores, where we’ll be talking about the issues that matter to families here in Staten Island and South Brooklyn,” he added.

First of Three New B44 Select Bus Service Stops to Be Installed by April 21

New York City Council Member Jumaane D. Williams has announced today that the Metropolitan Transit Authority will install the first of three new Select Bus Service (SBS) stops at Avenue L and Nostrand Avenue in both directions by April 21, 2014. The stop’s actual start date is tentative.

 

B44 riders will be able to transfer directly to B52 buses at Gates Avenue, and B9 buses at Avenue L.

The stop’s installation comes months after Council Member Williams, Council Member Chaim Deutsch, District Leader Rodneyse Bichotte and other community leaders called on the MTA to re-evaluate the removal of stops along the B44 line under the new SBS program. As a result of these efforts, the MTA agreed to re-evaluate their removal in February, 2014.

Under SBS, the MTA eliminated several critical stops on the B44 line. Many residents had complained about losing the limited B44 bus stop at Avenue L and Nostrand Avenue, among others. These complaints caused Williams to lead the community in a protest rally when the B44 changes initially occurred, and convey complaints directly to the MTA. His office regularly communicated with the MTA to relay each and every constituent complaint that has been registered and to continuously lobby for the return of limited bus services. He also met with the MTA directly to convey community complaints.

 

Weekend Bridge and Street Closures – April 12-13

The Brooklyn Bridge will be closed Manhattan-bound from midnight Friday to 7 am Saturday and from midnight Saturday to 9 am Sunday. Motorists will be detoured to the Manhattan Bridge or may choose other crossings. To allow traffic to clear before the reversal begins, the eastbound BQE exit onto the bridge closes 30 minutes earlier and other Brooklyn ramps onto the bridge shut down 5-15 minutes earlier.

One of four lanes on the Williamsburg Bridge eastbound to Brooklyn will be closed on Saturday from 6 am to 2 pm to facilitate NYCDOT bridge maintenance.

The Bayonne Bridge will be closed in both directions from 11:59 pm Friday to 8 am Saturday and from 11:59 pm Saturday to 8 am Sunday.

There will be street closures throughout Staten Island on Sunday for the Tour de Staten Island. Details are available on the DOT web site at http://www.nyc.gov/html/dot/html/motorist/wkndtraf.shtml.

One out of four northbound lanes on Route 9A between Canal Street and Clarkson Street will be closed from 10 pm Friday to 5 am Monday to facilitate the installation of a new sewer liner by the Departments of Design & Construction and Environmental Protection.

Broadway between 110th Street and 116th Street (northbound) in Manhattan will be closed on Saturday from noon to 5 pm for the 24th annual Upper Broadway Spring Festival.

The following streets in Manhattan will be closed on Sunday from noon to 2 pm for the Persian Day Parade:
* Madison Avenue between 38th Street and 25th Street
* Park Avenue between 23rd Street and 26th Street
* 37th Street and 38th Street between 5th Avenue and Park Avenue
* 36th Street between Madison Avenue and Park Avenue
* 26th Street and 27th Street between 5th Avenue and Madison Avenue
* 24th Street and 25th Street between Madison Avenue and Park Avenue

Myrtle Avenue between Fresh Pond Road and Wyckoff Avenue in Queens will be closed on Sunday from noon to 6 pm for the Ridgewood LLC Myrtle Avenue Festival.

Treyger Renews Call for MTA and DOT to Better Protect Public from Identify Theft in Light of Recent Skimming Incidents

mta skimCouncil Member Mark Treyger is renewing his call for the Metropolitan Transit Authority, New York City Department of Transportation and other city and state government agencies to take immediate steps to better protect its customers from identify theft, especially when using a credit or debit card to purchase a MetroCard or pay for parking at a Muni-Meter. His requests come in light of reports that skimming devices used to steal banking information were discovered installed on vending machines at the 59th Street Columbus Circle subway station and at the Baldwin, Long Island LIRR station in the past two weeks. Councilman Treyger first expressed concern about the potential for residents to become victims of identity theft while using credit cards at ticketing machines last year before taking office after five individuals were arrested for planting cameras in machines at several Long Island train stations to record customers’ personal identification and credit card numbers.

“As I said months ago, the MTA and other agencies including the DOT must take steps to ensure that the public is not left vulnerable to identify theft. It is clear that criminals are using more creative and advanced ways to gain valuable personal banking information from unsuspecting residents and that this problem is becoming more and more prevalent in our city. The time has come for every government agency to review the steps they have in place to protect customers and not leave them vulnerable to this type of crime,” said Council Member Treyger.

This week, the MTA reported that a card-skimming device and hidden camera was found connected to a MetroCard vending machine at the southbound 1 train platform at 59th Street Columbus Circle. It was discovered Wednesday night by an alert subway rider who alerted a token booth clerk. Last week, credit card reading devices and hidden cameras were discovered attached to ticket machines at the LIRR’s Baldwin station during an inspection, and similar devices were used last year at stations along the Port Washington line. In addition to concern over this activity occurring at train and subway stations, Council Member Treyger believes that Muni-Meter machines remain especially vulnerable to identity theft, especially since they are often located in areas that are not monitored by cameras or routinely inspected.

In response, Councilman Treyger is calling for a full review of the procedures currently in place for the MTA, DOT and other agencies to prevent and respond to instances of identity theft. These steps include reviewing procedures for routinely inspecting machines for tampering, posting warnings on the machines alerting customers to take precautions against fraud, better informing customers when there has been a security breach impacting their credit card and increasing security around all machines to deter criminal activity and to assist in investigations should an incident occur.

“Identity theft is an incredibly serious crime that can take years for a victim to resolve. Right now, the reality is that customers are open to being victimized while using government-owned machines. I plan on working with the various city and state agencies and my colleagues on all levels of government to immediately put safeguards in place to help prevent any other New Yorkers from being targeted,” added Councilman Treyger.

NYPD Adopts New Fire Response Protocols

nypd fireThe NYPD has adopted new protocols for police entering buildings while responding to fires after an officer died in a blaze in a residential building.

The guidelines call for officers to use stairs when possible. If they take an elevator, they should get off two floors below the fire and walk the rest of the way.

On Sunday, Officers Dennis Guerra and Rosa Rodriguez responded to a 911 call of a suspicious fire in the hallway of a Coney Island building. They took an elevator up to the 13th floor and were immediately exposed to a wave of smoke, suffering carbon monoxide poisoning and smoke inhalation.

Guerra died of his injuries Wednesday. Rodriguez remains in critical condition.

A 16-year-old boy has been charged with arson and other charges. (more…)

Guns & Pipe Bombs Recovered In Home of FDNY EMT

Photo: Victor Cadicamo/Facebook

New York City police say bomb squad investigators have recovered two explosive devices and guns from the home of a city emergency technician arrested during a domestic dispute.

Police say they responded to the Brighton Beach home of Victor Cadicamo at about 9:30 a.m. Thursday after his wife called 911 claiming Cadicamo threatened her with a gun.

They say the 29-year-old EMT told detectives at a stationhouse he had explosives in his home.

That’s when they say the bomb squad removed the devices and took them to the NYPD’s firing range in the Bronx for examination.

Cadicamo has been charged with criminal possession of a weapon, menacing and harassment. It wasn’t clear if he had an attorney.

(more…)

Marine Parkway Pedestrian Walkway Closed During Daytime Hours Beginning Monday, April 14

The Marine Parkway-Gil Hodges Memorial Bridge pedestrian walkway will be closed to pedestrians and bicyclists daily from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. beginning Monday, April 14 while the mile-long, six-foot-wide walkway is resurfaced.

Free shuttle buses, which can hold eight passengers and four bicycles, will ferry pedestrians and bikers across the bridge at approximately 15-minute intervals throughout the day while the path is closed. The walkway will be reopened each day after 5 p.m.

El Sol Construction Corp., of Queens, has already started removing the old overlay, which was installed in 2000. Once that work is completed, the walkway’s steel plating will be sandblasted, cleaned and a new layer of overlay will be applied.

The work is heavily dependent on dry, non-humid weather to ensure that the overlay adheres to the exposed steel. The project is expected to be completed by the end of May.

MTA Bridges and Tunnels Project Engineer Jaroslaw Myszczynski said because the path is so popular everything possible will be done to avoid any weekend work. “It really is up to Mother Nature,” he said. “If it’s not cold and the air is dry, the contractor will be able to get the work done without the need for weekend closures.”

Pedestrians can pick up the shuttle buses at Rockaway Point Boulevard and Beach 169th Street in Queens and on the west side of Flatbush Avenue, about 300-feet south of the intersection for Aviation Road in Brooklyn. Bright orange signs will be in place.

The shuttle buses will operate Monday through Friday between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m.